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The Impact: Parent-Teacher Language Barriers, Retail Workforce Pipeline

Mike McClanahan profile by Mike McClanahan

A new law aims to help parents and teachers understand each other even when they don’t speak the same language, but without relying on students to serve as interpreters. Proponents of House Bill 1153 say there are school districts in Washington state where more than 100 different languages are spoken. 

The prime sponsor, Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), joins us in the studio to discuss what the new language access law will require of schools and mean for multilingual families.

“I sat in a room all afternoon with 20 families and they shared stories that broke my heart, of not feeling a part of their child’s education or having a child leave in elementary school, leave the classroom, and not hearing that that happened,” said Orwall. “It’s really important that we have a trained professional in the room to do that work.”

Rep. Tina Orwall, (D-Des Moines) on The Impact

Another piece of 2022 legislation will create an educational pipeline for careers in retail. House Bill 2019 requires the state Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to work with community colleges and the retail industry to identify the sector’s in-demand and high-paying jobs, the core job skills needed in retail, educational gaps, and courses or apprenticeships that offer those skills. 

The prime sponsor, Rep. Matt Boehnke (R-Kennewick), says it’s meant to give future workers the skills to excel and help current retail workers move up.    

“From the Amazons all the way down to the local mini-marts that you see,” said Boehnke. “Some people still have that goal of ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.’ So here’s a pathway that we can show them.”

Rep. Matt Boehnke, (R-Kennewick) on The Impact

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